4 September 2017

Congo-Kinshasa: Ailing DRC Editor Faces Defamation Charges

From JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC KINSHASA, (CAJ News) - AUTHORITIES in the turbulent Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been urged to release an ailing editor arrested for allegedly defaming a regional minister. It is the latest in a series of crackdowns against journalists in the Central African country. The national security service recently arrested Jeef Mwingamb, editor-in-chief of the weekly Le Fédéral after regional government minister, Viviane Kapufi Mwansa, complained about her portrayal in a recent edition of the paper. Mwingamb is facing a defamation charge under article 74 of the Congolese penal code after a complaint the minister made to the federal security service. The trial has been deferred after Mwingamb experienced health problems. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) bemoaned the crackdown on media. "It is outrageous to target members of the press with criminal defamation simply for doing their job," CPJ Africa coordinator, Angela Quintal, said. Congolese authorities have been cracking down on critical reporters in recent weeks amid calls for President Joseph Kabila to quit. He clung to power at the lapse of his mandate late last year. A court on August 29 sentenced Jean Pierre Tshibitshabu to eight months in prison for incitement. Tshibitshabu, a reporter for independent broadcaster, was arrested during nationwide anti-Kabila protests. At least 18 other journalists were briefly detained or harassed during the demonstrations.

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